Ghost Light Players have returned with the premiere of Okno – a new play, written by Windsor author Michael Krym. The drama opened earlier this month and continues through the next two weekends for more shows.
Okno is the story of a Polish family that has lost their daughter. Unable to find help from the police, and out of rational explanations, the family have all given up in their own ways. However, the reasons behind her mysterious disappearance are anything but easily explained.
The lead character is the extraordinary-gifted Ola, played by University of Windsor grad Babs Donovan. She has a spiritual and psychic ability that no one in her family understands. She’s somehow able to gauge people’s thoughts, see beyond solid surfaces and even claims to have the ability to fly to the stars. In the beginning she seems bored that she’s able to predict every turned card in a deck, no matter how many times its shuffled, as if she’s seeking something more.
The meat and potatoes of the play is in its battle with prescription drugs (I’m guessing antipsychotics) and how these medications numb the entire body and soul. Donovan did a great job going through both medicated and unmedicated scenes. In the unmedicated scenes she was full of life and even danced around the stage with utter beauty and grace – she was captivating in those scenes and really showed us why she was chosen for the role.
The cast also included Kitu Turcas who gave a bit of a Johnny Knoxville flavour to Ola’s brother Aleks. Turcas had twitches and quirks similar to Knoxville’s Scrad from Men In Black II and in a minor Jackass-style, bounced around in his underwear as he selected clothes for an evening date. He was a welcomed dose of humour in a rather deep story.
Rounding out the production was Niki Richardson and Jeffery Bastien who played Ola’s parents Eva and Adam. Richardson really embraced the repressed and depressed roll of the overly-worried mom – often miserable, but mostly restrained, Eva was a strong character with her own secrets and fears built up inside. Bastien was a little more relaxed as Adam, but like most fathers, he deeply cared for his children – trying to support Ola and making strong efforts to bond and back up Aleks.
Relationships within the family unit are at the core of this production. I wonder if some of the story and relationships were part of Krym’s own childhood. He captures the essence of a family struggling to show its inner love for each other, while diving into a spiritual territory most of us will never experience.
It was a good script from Krym. The story was intriguing and very thoughtful. Most of us probably know someone that suffers from some sort of depression by medication, but we probably don’t realize it. In the case of Okno, the medication destroyed a family bond and suppressed a spiritual experience that comes to full realization at the end of the show.
Being different is what makes the world unique and joyful and Okno pinpoints that message right from the start.
Catch Okno at the Atellier Virginianne Gallery of Sho – Art, Spirit & Performance, located at 1078 Drouillard Rd. The show continues November 16-18 and 23-25. Tickets are $20 or $15 for students. Cash and food donations are also being accepted for the Windsor Youth Centre. Visit the production’s Facebook page.